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Neil Young, an uncritical celebrity activist

Neil Young speaksToday, the Toronto Star opinions about Neil and his recent activities in Canada, giving a summary about his longrunning political attitude and actions as a musician and artist.

As The Passenger says: The music we march to didn’t just show up on the radar last year sometime. They all know that. Consolidate your feces dark siders, Neil Young has proudly represented workers for decades. [1]

Referring to a recent poll in the Calgary Herald “Most Albertans object to Young’s remarks” it is written:

Today Young is outraged again, only this time it’s with his home country. He hates the oilsands. He thinks it’s the world’s greatest environmental disaster and he believes the health of First Nations peoples, who live near the projects, is threatened.

On a recent visit to northern Alberta, Young gave voice to these opinions. The oil industry and their supplicants summarily dismissed his views. The aging rock star was said to have his facts wrong (even though we lack a widely accepted set of facts about the environmental and health effects of the oilsands). He was characterized as just another in a long list of celebrity activists who uncritically accept the views of those opposed to the oilsands.

Oh yeah, musicians should just shut up and play. For the cool and calm summary of Neil’s reply to these critizisms, Neil replied wonderfully in his “Calgary Adress“. Like music is a place devoid of emotion or discussion or revolution.

A lot of the polled people disagree with Neil’s points of views about the Oil Sands, the climate change, the environmental destruction and the “greed” Canada sells out to the Big Oil players. However, a majority is very concerned and believe the oilsands are damaging the Alberta province’s ecosystems.

“No matter how you feel, there’s a discussion going on around the breakfast table. That’s real, that’s big, that’s Canada,” Young said.

The T-Star concludes:

Big oil has spent tens of millions of dollars in advertisements and public relations gimmicks to convince Canadians and Americans of the unambiguous merits of the oilsands. This has been done in part to pressure the Obama administration to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline project. Whatever positive effect this expensive PR effort has yielded, Neil Young could wipe out in an afternoon of inspired song writing.

The message to Big Oil should be clear. When an angry Neil Young shows up on your doorstep, don’t dismiss him the way you do all your other critics. Give him the respect he deserves and consider his views carefully, lest he train his formidable lyrical and melodic arsenal on you.

Read more :: The Toronto Star, Feb 9, 2014 “Message to the oilpatch: beware Neil Young”.

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[1] Two Shout Outs, 01.28.14, From The Passenger. A summary can be found *here*. The Passenger is of LincVolt Chronicle fame.

***

Oil sands supporters protest Neil Young show in Calgary

Neil-Young-Calgary protesters

Protestor Merle Terlesky, left (wearing toque) talking to Neil Young associate Dave Toms. Photo: Christopher Walsh.

Oil sands supporters protest Neil Young show in Calgary
Christopher Walsh | January 19, 2014

Neil Young says concerts got Canadians talking about oil sands, which equals success

A half dozen oil sands supporters took to the street outside the Jack Singer Concert Hall Sunday night in anticipation of the Neil Young Calgary show to protest the rock legend’s comments about the Alberta oil sands that they call “lies.”

“We want Neil to know we’re here,” said Merle Terlesky outside the final Honour the Treaties show of the tour. “We’re not here to shut him down, we just want him to tell the truth.”

Terlesky and other protesters say Young’s comments surrounding the development of Alberta’s oil sands are ill-informed and don’t reflect what the oil sands means for Alberta and the rest of the country.  Neil Young came under fire last week for comparing the oil sands to Hiroshima after the atomic bomb. His four-city tour which wrapped up Sunday in Calgary was meant to raise funds for the Athabasca Fort Chipewyan First Nation’s legal battle to hault further development of the oil sands area.

The protesters said Sunday that Neil Young has confused his message about the oil sands and First Nations’ treaties.

“I’m a proud Albertan.  I think Neil Young has a right to free speech, but he needs to tell the truth and separate the issues of the natives and the oil sands,” Terlesky said.

“It’s interesting that they say it’s not about the oil, it’s about the treaties; but all they’re doing is slamming oil,” said protest organizer Craig Chandler. “We got some people down here because we want to stop the lies and get the facts out.”

The group handed out info flyers and held signs that read, “stop the lies” and “proud of the Alberta oil patch.”

Arguments with concert-goers and Aboriginals were heated, but remained peaceful  .“We don’t want to shut anything down,” Dave Toms told the oil sands supporters. “We just want you to clean up your mess. They’ll never fix it up the way it was.”

Toms, also known as “The Passenger” on the Neil Young website promoting Young’s electric car the LincVolt, said he respected the protesters’ opinions but that he was concerned about the environmental impacts of future oil sands development.

“Throw out the oppressors,” he told Terlesky. “This is an occupied city, dude, occupied by big oil and the CAPP.”

At a press conference earlier in the day, Neil Young told reporters the Honour the Treaties tour has accomplished what it set out to do by raising well over $75,000 for the Fort Chipewyan First Nations’ legal defence fund and raising awareness about the oil sands and aboriginal rights.

read all: beaconnews.ca/calgary/2014/01/oil-sands-supporters-protest-neil-young-show-in-calgary/

Prominent Canadian Artists and Scientists Sign On to Stand with ACFN

Fort-McMurray_Alberta_oilsands

neil-young_honour-the-treaties

Prominent Canadian Artists and Scientists Sign On to Stand With Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation In Oilsands Expansion Fight

Support Comes Hours After Wildly Successful Neil Young Fundraising Concert Series Nets In Excess of $500,000

CALGARY, ALBERTA–(Marketwired – Jan 20, 2014) – Not even a full day after Neil Young’s incredibly successful “Honour the Treaties” Tour, which raised more than half a million dollars to help the Athabasca Chipewyan challenge further tar sands encroachment within their traditional homelands, a noted group of Canadian authors, musicians, and climate scientists released a letter of support to the campaign, noting “the time has come for Canada to decide if we want a future where First Nations rights and title are honoured, agreements with other countries to protect the climate are honoured, and our laws are not written by powerful oil companies.”

The letter was signed by more than 20 notable Canadians, including actor Neve Campbell, writers Joseph Boyden and Michael Ondaatje, dancer and member of the Order of Canada Margi Gillis and climate scientist Dr. Danny Harvey.

“I applaud Neil Young’s efforts to raise awareness of these critical issues. Further expansion of tar sands operations is simply incompatible with our climate obligations and moral responsibilities,” said climate scientist Dr. Danny Harvey.

Young’s tour was designed to draw international attention to the Canadian government’s failure to respect treaties made with First Nations, and to highlight the growing environmental impacts in Alberta from oil sands development. The tour sparked a national conversation that featured Prime Minister Stephen Harper and oil executives criticizing Young but ignoring the issues he raised about the consequences of violating Treaty rights in the pursuit to further exploit the oil sands.

The tour has now raised $500,000 for the Athabasca Chipewyan legal challenges.

“The Federal Government’s continued approval of new tar sands mines such as Shell’s Jackpine mine despite the devastating environmental impacts and inadequate consultation with First Nations is insulting and unlawful. We are encouraged and grateful for all the support we are receiving from across Canada. This is just the beginning,” said Chief Allan Adam of the ACFN.
It is clear that First Nations bear the brunt of environmental impacts from oil sands development. For parts of the year 80% of the traditional territory of the ACFN and Mikisew Cree is inaccessible due to oil sands development and studies show 30% increase in cancer rates of the residents of Fort Chipewyan. Further south, the Beaver Lake Cree First Nations claim 20,000 treaty violations.

The impacts to climate change from oil sands development are striking. Greenhouse gas emissions from Canada’s oil sands now exceed the total emissions from 85 countries and are rising. More oil sands growth would make it impossible for Canada to meet its goal of a 17% reduction of carbon pollution from 2005 levels by 2020, meaning that Canada would not meet its international obligations to reduce emissions.

ACFN will use the funds from the concerts and crowd-sourced funds for their legal defense to protect and preserve their homelands north of Fort McMurray. The ACFN recognizes the need for economic development however there is simply a need for true balance and respect of environmental, Treaty and Aboriginal rights in the pursuit of these goals. In 2014, ACFN will likely participate in two hearings – for the Shell Pierre River mine and for the Teck Resources Frontier Mine — and continue their challenge of both the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan and the Jackpine mine decision.

Full text of the open letter:

On his Honour the Treaties tour, Neil Young is doing what poets do – forcing us to examine ourselves. This is hard enough on a personal level and it can be even more difficult when we are being asked to examine the direction in which our country is headed.

The time has come for Canada to decide if we want a future where First Nations rights and title are honoured, agreements with other countries to protect the climate are honoured, and our laws are not written by powerful oil companies. Or not.

Neil’s tour has triggered the Prime Minister’s Office and oil company executives. They have come out swinging because they know that this is a hard conversation and they might lose. But that should not stop the conversation from happening.

Instead of focusing on Neil Young’s celebrity, Prime Minister Harper should inform Canadians how he plans to honour the treaties with First Nations. This means ensuring the water, land, air, and climate are protected so the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations and other First Nations communities be able to hunt, fish, gather plants and live off the land. Canada signed a treaty with them 114 years ago, and this must be honoured.

The world is watching as we decide who we will become. Will we disregard the treaties we have with First Nations? Will we continue to allow oil companies to persuade our government to gut laws, silence scientists, and disassemble civil society in order to allow reckless expansion of the oil sands?

We are proud to stand with Neil Young as he challenges us all to think about these larger, more profound and humane questions.

Now is the time for leadership and to honour promises that we have made, not personal attacks.

Michael Ondaatje, author, Officer of the Order of Canada
Margi Gillis, dancer, Member of the Order of Canada
Clayton Ruby, lawyer, Member of the Order of Canada
Dr. David Suzuki, scientist, Companion of the Order of Canada
Dr. David Schindler, scientist, Officer of the Order of Canada
Stephen Lewis, Companion of the Order of Canada
Joseph Boyden, author
Gord Downie, musician
Sarah Harmer, musician
Naomi Klein, author
Dr. John Stone, scientist
Tzeporah Berman, author
Amanda Boyden, author
Neve Campbell, actor
Wade Davis, author
Dr. Danny Harvey, climate scientist
J.B. MacKinnon, author
Dan Managan, musician
Sid Marty, author
Andrew Nikiforuk, author
Rick Smith, author
John Valliant, author
Ronald Wright, author

Additional resources:

  • http://thefirelightgroup.com/projects/as-long-as-the-rivers-flow-athabasca-river-knowledge-use-and-change/
  • http://www.ualberta.ca/~avnish/rls-2009-02-06-fort-chipewyan-study.pdf
  • http://www.beaverlakecreenation.ca/upload/documents/statementofclaim.pdf
  • http://www.ec.gc.ca/Publications/253AE6E6-5E73-4AFC-81B7-9CF440D5D2C5/793-Canada%27s-Emissions-Trends-2012_e_01.pdf
  • http://ec.gc.ca/indicateurs-indicators/default.asp?lang=en&n=F60DB708

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Please donate to help the First Nation's battle 
against the Alberta tar sands..
http://www.honourtheacfn.ca/

Random Quote

“Down the windy halls of friendship
To the rose clipped by the bullwhip
The motel of lost companions
Waits with heated pool and bar. ”

by -- Neil Young

Neil Young on Tour

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